Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 201–207 | Cite as

Scaling Characteristics of Heart Rate Time Series Before the Onset of Ventricular Tachycardia

  • Mathias BaumertEmail author
  • Niels Wessel
  • Alexander Schirdewan
  • Andreas Voss
  • Derek Abbott


Ventricular tachycardia (VT) provokes sudden cardiac death (SCD), which is a major cause of mortality in developed countries. Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) are an efficient therapy for SCD prevention. In this study we analyze heart rate variability (HRV) in data stored by ICDs.

In 29 patients exhibiting VT episodes, the last 1000 normal beat-to-beat intervals are analyzed and compared to an individually acquired control time series (CON). HRV analysis is performed with standard parameters of time and frequency domain as suggested by the HRV Task Force. For scaling analyses of heart rate time series, the fractal dimension is analysed, applying Higuchi’s algorithm (HFD). Furthermore, detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA) is performed.

None of the standard HRV parameters shows significant differences between CON and VT. Before the onset of VT, the scaling characteristics by means of HFD and DFA are significantly changed.

In conclusion, scaling analysis reveals changes in autonomic heart rate modulation preceding VT.


Implantable cardioverter defibrillators Heart rate variability Fractal dimension Detrended fluctuation analysis 



This study was supported by grants form the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG Vo505/3-1 and DFG Vo505/4-2) and the Australian Research Council (DP0663345).


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mathias Baumert
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
    Email author
  • Niels Wessel
    • 3
  • Alexander Schirdewan
    • 4
  • Andreas Voss
    • 2
  • Derek Abbott
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Centre for Biomedical Engineering (CBME)The University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Medical EngineeringUniversity of Applied Sciences JenaJenaGermany
  3. 3.Institute of PhysicsUniversity of PotsdamPotsdamGermany
  4. 4.Medical Faculty of the CharitéFranz Volhard Clinic, Helios Klinikum-BerlinBerlinGermany
  5. 5.School of Electrical and Electronic EngineeringThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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